Monday, December 11, 2006

More Xmas madness: (1) The municipal gov’t of Kingston upon Hull, England, has barred garbage collectors from wearing their Santa hats because "it does not create a professional impression." (2) A resident at Britain’s Onley Prison wrote to an inmates’ publication that he doesn’t want to see any damned festive occasions this season because that only makes him feel worse about being in the joint. (3) Port of Seattle officials ended the 25-yr tradition of Christmas trees around the Seattle-Tacoma airport, which was remarkable mainly for the swiftness of decision: Trees went up; one rabbi asked to put up a menorah; all trees came down (so they can defer deciding an official policy until January).

Speaking of rabbis, Israel has solved a pressing problem: the concern that "electricity" wasn’t kosher. They’ll spend about $10m to have their electrons OK’d by the ultra-Orthodox. (How do you make "electricity" kosher, anyway? Apparently, just make sure the plant is operated by observant Jews, i.e., install enough automatic equipment that nobody has to work the Sabbath. And the ultras were serious; thousands had used private generators for years.)

Updates
Cmdr. Bainimarama had his little coup in Fiji [Backstage, 12-1-2006], and now the prime minister is unemployed, and Bainimarama is placing classified ads in the newspaper for new cabinet ministers.
Oh, it’s an old standby story that Yr Editor has had the privilege of trotting out for years, as always good for a chuckle or two, but a new UN report underscores the issue: The greatest threat to the climate, forests, and wildlife on this planet is . . . livestock. It’s not only sheep ‘n’ cow farts, though. It’s the energy consumed by ranching, the water contamination by poops, and other things.

Below The Fold
Just as Frank Costello slipped little Colin Sullivan money as a kid (in The Departed) to win his later allegiance, some forward-looking criminal mobs in Britain are targeting teen hackers as young as 14 to come work for them . . . . . Some gov’t programs can work very well, as the federal Supermax prison in Colorado has received a 5-star endorsement by none other than anti-abortion bomber Eric Rudolph: "Supermax is designed to inflict as much misery and pain as is constitutionally permissible" . . . . . In Oregon City, Ore., a mother was charged with stabbing her adult son for taking the popcorn she had popped for herself, and then, at the hospital, the son worried that he was really in trouble because he had bloodied one of her precious towels while stopping the bleeding . . . . . Turns out one of the Air Force’s top lawyers (29 months on the Bush White House staff, commandant of the JAG school) has been disbarred since 1984.